Hi dear friends!
Without a daily challenge for this month I’m back on track with some discussion posts and today I would like to have a chat with you about social media.
Do you think social media are a curse or a blessing? Or both?
Do you use them? When and why? Do you speak their language and know their inner work?
Some context maybe.
BB (Before Blogging) I was rarely on social media. I was on Goodreads of course as I’m passionate about books and I had a Facebook private account where I did not post many things. It just helped me get in touch with friends and what happened in their lives when they were living far away.
Incredible I know but true.
Now that I’m blogging I have a FB page for my blog, a FB group that I created with other blogger friends, a Twitter account, an Instagram account, a Pinterest account and I‘m overwhelmed with informations every day!
Some informations I’m very happy to get as new books from favourite authors, blog posts from friends, giveaways, etc. others I don’t care for (advertizing mainly) are polluting my feed.
I’m also stressed by all these informations as I feel like I just HAVE to keep up and react but I just can’t.
Hence this discussion: are social media a curse, a blessing or a necessary evil?
Grab a cup of tea, take a seat and let’s chat about the different situations and POV.
As a Fellow citizen
We’ve all heard that social media played an important role in the two last presidential campaign in the US. I began to write this post in December 2017 and by the time this will be published we got the “Facebook Scandal” with a huge appology from its founder (but we’ll see were it goes). My point is not to open a debate but rather to highlight how social media influence us. Be it in elections or choosing our favorite read, Facebook, Twitter etc. read your behavioral choices and present you informations, news, promotions they think you will like.
Well not totally as you can pay them to boost your posts and show them to others (not so neutral). You will soon see the same kind of books and choices so forget diversity and opening your mind to totally different topics. You will think, read and eat in a small circle.
They can manipulate your opinion on many subjects only showing you one side of the story.
They keep you in a closed circle running similar ideas all the time.
Now the counterpoint is that it still is a fantastic mean to see what likeminded friends read, love and have a chance to get your next fix in books, movies, fashion, whatever you love.
I think if I give so many high ratings for books that it has to do with being presented books similar to those I loved previously hence higher chance to get a high rating.
I’d say use it but don’t believe everything you read and try to forge your own critical opinion looking for other sources of information.
Try to follow other people, different from the ones you are used to follow just to break the “circle” from time to time.
As a parent
Kids usually all are on social media. My son has a FB account to follow his classmates and debate about some schoolwork. That’s the extent of his FB activity so far. But he is a gamer and chat online with his game crew on Discord among others. They have their own community. My daughter has a FB account and is on IG as well. She is on Snapshat and is the real social media guru of the family. When I began on Instagram she showed me the ropes 😉
Most kids have a ring of “helpers” and can chat with their classmates if they need help with some topic. If they are music fans they follow their favorite band on FB or Twitter or … and know when and where they are touring. If they are fans of SJM (totally random) they can stalk their favorite author on social media and know when they’ll get their next fix. Information is gold and easy to find on everything you are interested in. Politics, sports, culture…. you name it you got it. This is an incredibly powerful source of information and knowledge. You don’t know something? Google it or ask in your inner circle. You can also connect with people all around the world and make friends everywhere.
Bullying is one major downside of social media. Decades ago when you left school the bullying stopped. You could breathe at home. Now it follows you home as the bashing can go on with Facebook, etc. My son got a nude picture of one of his female classmates that was taken by her ex. They broke up and the boy sent her picture everywhere… I forbade my son to forward it and asked him to destroy it.
Social pressure is also incredibly high! When you see all the photoshopped pictures of your favourite stars you see all your “flaws”. I’m lucky to have level headed kids but others go on unhealthy diets etc. Social pressure also comes with the dream picture people show of their lives.
Have you ever thought that she or he has a dream life compared to your life? Well chances are high that everything is not as good as it seems but it has us mildly depressed or envious. Scoop here: it’s biased. As in advertising you rarely show your bad hair day but rather post a picture with your new haircut right from the salon! Except Jay and his “couch hair” 😀
I would say teach your kids to be critical and have their own opinion on topics presented by social media. Tell them to look for friends with different background, cultures and experiences. Travel a lot and with accepting minds and eyes wide open. Show them pictures “before” and “after” photoshop and praise them for who they are. Show them the world and broaden their horizon if you can afford it. Tell them nothing is always black or white but that the truth is in the middle, in shades of grey. Help them to cut the ties and enjoy nature or books or ….to lessen the pressure.
As a Blogger
I come to the reason why I wrote this post. Blogging means communicating about your passion. Of course I love to write posts and make graphics. It’s fun and self fulfilling. But I also hope someone will read it and comment back. The hardest time is when you launch your blog and don’t have a big net of friends on social media. I was that blogger when I began. I’m really happy to have people to talk to now but the firsts posts felt like screaming in the desert.
Social media allow you to spread the love. You get to push your most beloved authors (Yay!) and shout that “that book is dang good and just read it!!!”
You stay in the loop and know what to read next. When I learned that Tahere Mafi would publish her fourth book in the Shatter Me series I was overjoyed! When Suanne Laqueur told me Beartown by Frederik Backman was her best read of 2017 I bought the book and was in reader’s Heaven! When I look at gorgeous bookstagrams I study them and try to apply some of the tips to mine. When Flavia or Krysti or … tweet about an international giveaway I enter!
You get books and ARCs to read and promote. Let’s be realistic here PR companies and editing houses are looking after bloggers having accounts on social media as a mean to push their books. It’s rational and understandable. Having accounts on social media OR a blog with tons of followers help you get your most wanted ARCs.
You show your work and your creation to others! I’m following Inkfurie (Lonna from FlyLef) on IG and I love watching her creating gorgeous letters. Calligraphy is very difficult and being an artist is often lonely. Social media enable you to show your creation and get feedback.
Inspiration. Reading creative posts, looking at gorgeous bookstagrams and graphics is an endless inspiration source. It’s motivating and pushes you to do better. Get more creative. develop new talents. Aquire new skills.
As already said you can feel inadequate as a blogger. When you see someone posting all the time incredible bookstagrams or creative posts you can ask why you can’t do it too? Peer pressure is a reality.
It’s HIGHLY time consuming to follow everyone and everything. It’s impossible. I’m really in awe of some of my bloggers friends commenting back on nearly everything and immediately. I would love to comment back on all your posts but when I’m coming back home at 7 PM and have to be up and dandy at 5 AM I have a limited time frame on week days to do so. I feel like a fraud most of the time. Like I’m a bad friend and disappoint people.
I would say use it but don’t abuse it. Follow and comment when you can. Binge commenting when you have time but if you don’t remember blogging is a hobby but it’s not everything in life. You are not a bad person if you can’t like and comment on everything. You are just human. Make it the bast you can and leave out the rest. Well these are wise words but not always easy to follow my own advices. 😉
Now let’s chat. What is your opinion about all this? Do you have social media accounts? Can you like and comment on everything every day (if so do tell me your secret)?
Thanks for reading! And sorry for the looooooong post.